Saturday, January 01, 2005


A heartfelt plea (OK, a rant) from alert reader ck:

My New Years Resolution Wish --

That we happy, happy few of the Patriotic American Opposition to the BushCo Fascist takeover, looting, and destruction of our country stop -- repeat, STOP -- using the SCLM acronym.

The Right Wing takeover of the Mainstream Media is nearly complete, and the SCLM does not exist. Referring to a non-existent SCLM is snarky and Po-Mo and counter productive.

Smash Mouth Frontal Assault is the only way to defeat these fuckers, and telling the truth about the Lying Right Wing Media is part of the program.

Fight Fire With Fire, Fight Lies With Truth, No Quarter Is Offered And None Will Be Given. Fight as though your life depends on it -- because it does.

Thank You . . .

You're welcome.

Year In Review: '04 

If you're feeling well enough by now to giggle without fear of your head falling off (I read this way too early this morning and the dang thing went rolling across the floor and the cats batted it under the couch) go read the whole thing. This is severely edited...but I gotta tell you, with Dave Berry taking off for a year, I think we need the author of this piece, one Lex Alexander, to get a syndication deal for the duration:

(via Raleigh NC News-Record)
Jan. 25: BECAUSE THAT WHOLE ERA WAS, LIKE, *TOTALLY* BORING, MAN: A proposed revision of Georgia’s 11th-grade American History curriculum deletes everything between 1800 and 1876, including the Alamo, the Trail of Tears and the Civil War.

Jan. 30: MAYBE BECAUSE DARWIN’S WORK WAS PUBLISHED BETWEEN 1800 AND 1876?: Georgia’s state schools superintendent proposes striking the word "evolution" from the science curriculum.

Feb. 23: BUT HOW DOES HE FEEL ABOUT EVOLUTION?: During a speech to the nation’s governors, Education Secretary Rod Paige calls the National Education Association "a terrorist organization."

April 26: MATH MUCH?: Fox News reports that the economy is improving because "14 states now have an unemployment rate that is lower than the national average."

April 28: I COULD TELL YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO SHOOT YOU: The American Civil Liberties Union reveals that it sued the FBI three weeks ago, challenging parts of the USA Patriot Act, but that it had been barred until today from disclosing the suit … because of provisions in the USA Patriot Act.

May 18: THEY’RE NOT DEAD, THEY’RE RESTING: Officials in Cameroon arrest a woman carrying 266 dead parrots of an endangered variety.

July 14: BECAUSE TWO PEOPLE OF THE SAME SEX GETTING MARRIED IS *EXACTLY* LIKE FLYING JETS INTO SKYSCRAPERS AND THE PENTAGON AND KILLING THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE: Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., defends a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage by saying, "Isn’t that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?"

July 29: ANOTHER UNFUNDED MANDATE: Bush campaign aide Susan Sheybani suggests that Americans unhappy with their jobs should find new ones or begin taking the antidepressant Prozac.

Sept. 19: SMOKING KILLS: A Cleveland man is beaten to death at a bar after refusing someone’s request for a cigarette, police say.

Sept. 28: TWO WORDS THAT SHOULD NEVER APPEAR IN THE SAME SENTENCE: "SCALIA" AND "ORGIES": Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia claims in a Harvard speech that his personal views do not affect his legal rulings: "I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged."

Nov. 2: YOU WANT A HOOKER TO GO WITH THOSE MORAL VALUES?: Voters in Churchill County, Nevada, support George W. Bush’s re-election by 72 percent — and the continuation of legal brothels by 63 percent.

Dec. 9: BY "MUTUAL AFFECTION AND CONFIDENCE," THEY MEANT "RIFLES AND BULLWHIPS": Cary Christian School receives nationwide attention for using a pamphlet on American slavery that teaches that slavery "was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence."

Dec. 14: OK, MAYBE SMOKING DOESN’T KILL: A 105-year-old English woman who had smoked since age 15 is cremated with a pack of Benson & Hedges cigarettes in her hands after dying of natural causes unrelated to smoking.

Hippie New Year 

New Year’s resolutions are worthless, natch. But I was meditating on what changes I should make in 2005 anyway, and realized that there was absolutely nothing to change personally since my obnoxious habits are far too ingrained for redemption. The best I can do in a world being consumed by greed and fear is work on being more generous and compassionate, and I did resolve to brush my teeth more often. But there are perhaps a few external things I could work on…

1. Get the Preznit and his cabinet and advisors into (very) long-term treatment. (NOTE: Must break through denial first. Perhaps a group intervention? Contact APA.)

2. Keep organizing on the local level so that when the meltdown occurs this year there’ll be good candidates and grassroots GOTV efforts in midterm elections for 06. Get noisier in local media and at meetings.

3. Remember that the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock currently stands at seven minutes till midnight (exactly where it stood when it first started ticking in 1947) and resolve to get it back to at least fifteen till (see #1).

4. Make this MLK Day one to remember—it’s the anti-coronation.

5. Ask Reps. Conyers and Waxman, et. al. to share spines of steel with colleagues.

6. Buy absolutely as little as possible from corporate swine. Vote with wallet. Make or grow our own more often.

7. Paint the shed out by the road. Maybe a picture of Che Guevara? Emma Goldmann? MLK w/ We Shall Overcome? Sabocat?

8. Renew ACLU, public radio and IWW memberships promptly.

And dang, I know I’m forgetting something…

Hope all Correntians stay strong in 2005!

New Years Day Lab-Blogging 

Hey, wake up, it's two thousand and five outside!

HNY to all.


Hippo Gnu Ear Two Ewe 

There was a man, his name was Lang,
And he had a neon sign...
But Mr. Lang was very old,
so they called it Old Lang's Sign.

Regards to our Correntementators, without whom we would just be whistling up the wind and spewing outrage for our own amusement. Even the trolls, to whom we send gratitude for giving us very reliable indicators of when we're doing the most damage and causing the most ouchies among the Forces of Evil. Hippo Gnu Ear Two Ewe Two.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

See you next year!


Craig's list eats away at newspaper classified revenues:

A popular online community for selling goods and finding jobs and housing is diverting US$50 million to $65 million annually in classified advertising from newspapers in the San Francisco Bay area, according to Classified Intelligence, a consulting firm in Altamonte Springs, Florida.

The firm released a report this week, a copy of which has been obtained by TechNewsWorld, consisting of articles and essays about Craigslist, an online community that began in the Bay area and has branched out into more than 70 U.S. cities as well as several metropolitan areas overseas.

In one of the report's essays, Bob Cauthorn, who used to run interactive media operations at the San Francisco Chronicle, noted that in one week alone in November, Craigslist had 12,200 paid and unique job listings, compared to 4,900 for the online editions of the Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times.
(via TechNewsWorld)

Now, if only CraigsList covered the news... Oh, wait, the newspapers don't cover the news either! So there's a whole new market here!

SCLM buries the lede on torture memos 

So, the Bush Department of [cough] Justice tries to put the toothpaste back in the tube by writing a memo that says Oh, we were wrong. We thought torture was legal, and White House [cough] Counsel Alberto Gonzales even wrote a memo saying that it was legal, but never mind, it isn't legal after all.

And the new memo came out before the Gonzales confirmation hearings! Fancy that. Nice timing, eh?

Of course, we've been saying all along (here and here) that the truly reprehensible part of the Gonzales memos isn't the fact that they try to justify torture, but that they claim the [cough] President has the "inherent authority" to set aside the law.

And guess what! The malAdministation (seemingly) back-pedalled on torture, but not on the Divine Right of Presidents. That should be the lede, right? Since it means there's not such thing as the rule of law, and the Constitution is inoperative? But let's count. AP buries the lede, oh, one two three four five six seven eight paragraphs in:

The 17-page memo does not address two of the most controversial assertions in the first memo: that Bush, as commander in chief in wartime, had authority superseding anti-torture laws and that U.S. personnel had legal defenses against criminal liability in such cases.
(via AP)

So, Justice issues a new memo. Yawn. So what? Bush believes he can set the law aside whenever he wants, so what does a memo matter?

NOTE WaPo doesn't mention the "inherent authority" issue either. How very odd.

Bush gives real money for tsunami disaster 

$350 million.

Wouldn't it have been great if He'd done the right thing, right away?

I'd like to write that He was shamed into it, but sociopaths don't know what shame is. Doubtless helping Jebbie's succession is the real motive. And, of course, we don't know where in the budget the $350 million will come from...

Jebbie 2008 

So Dear Leader is sending poor old used up Colin Powell out to Indonesia—a sure sign the White House regards the entire relief exercise as pointless. But they are giving Colin a minder: Jebbie. Hey, finally Jebbie gets to prance on the world stage and get plenty of coverage on FUX!

Meanwhile, the US is still looking pretty, well, stingy:

Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday that the United Nations had received pledges of $500 million to pay for emergency assistance to victims of the south Asia earthquake and tsunami.

More than 30 nations have pledged $250 million, including a U.S. promise of $35 million, which Secretary of State Colin Powell said yesterday was "only the beginning."

The other $250 million will come from the World Bank. Even so, Annan said the United Nations would issue an appeal for more emergency funds next week.

Because of the magnitude of the catastrophe, he said coordination is vital to make sure that the right supplies reach the areas hit hardest. The World Health Organization estimates that 5 million people need some assistance; about a third are children.
(via Seattle Times)

$35 million out of $500 million.... Still, let's try for a little balance here. I mean, they aren't "Christians," so they're going to Hell, right? So why spend any more than the minimum that public relations requires?

UPDATE Alert reader Palolo lolo:

Isn't Neil the one with connections in Thailand? Maybe he gave Jebbie the names or just the hotel room number to stay in!


Conyers challenges Ohio 2004 count, ignites media firestorm 

(text of the Conyers letter back here.

Oh, wait... I wrote the headline before actually checking Google News... Just a sec.... all two related.

Interesting. No coverage at all in any major, or minor, media outlet. I wonder why?

UPDATE RDF writes:

Your local county party should be drafting a letter of support to Rep. Conyers, and letters of urging to your Sens, like, ummm, NOW.

Seems to me that counting all the votes, regardless of the outcome, should be a no-brainer. Why would anyone want not to count all the votes?

Walls of Water 

Watching the news coverage on the tsunami in Indonesia reminded me of something. Especially the videotape of all that water rolling over the beach and into the interior. Namely that this is the image that goes through your head when you're waiting for a hurricane to roll ashore. Except in the case of what happened in Indonesia, you, dear hurricane watcher, are not caught off-guard by the moment but rather subjected to the possibilities of such natural powers over a period of days.

Listening to the weather people on your television deliver continuous warnings on the destructive power of storm surges and so forth. Sixteen to eighteen foot storm surges which are, as I recall, some record setting storm surges pushed ashore by powerful hurricanes in the past. I have no idea how great the storm surge (or tsunami) was in South Asia but that isn't the point at this point. The point is that what those people experienced in South Asia is the terrible actuality of the nightmare that bangs around in the skull of anyone who has ever waited out a hurricane(s) possibilities at two or three feet above sea level. Which is about how many feet above sea level I was living at when I had my own deep dark thoughts banging around in my skull in this regard. On a number of occasions as a matter of fact.

Anyone who reads here, who currently lives, or has lived, in South Florida for any period of time, will most likely understand what I'm getting at here. And has no boubt entertained such humbling possibilities.

When hurricane Andrew swept its way toward South Florida in August 1992 I had all these kinds of scary thoughts banging around in my skull because, as the weather people will tell you, its the water stupid! Its the water - the storm surge - that kills thousands of people.

What you think about - the images that go through your head - as you sit in your hurricane shuttered sweatbox - is basically what you see in those videos coming from Indonesia today.

Although Andrew roared ashore north of where I lived I nevertheless planned carefully what I would do should the worst come to pass waterwise. The first moronic notion that comes to mind in such last minute planning situations is the idea that you will be able to float on something. So you look around your yard and home and take note of things that will float. Like boats. But in the event you can't drag a boat into your living room you examine air mattresses and sofa cushions and the fat labrador retriever snoring in the corner of the living room for potential bouyancy properties. At least you do if you're me.

Then of course you figure out where exactly 16 or 18 feet is located at. Because who the fuck really knows. Do you really know where 16 or 18 feet is? I didn't think so. You will need to know these things so you can scamper quickly onto your roof and leap like a human gecko into the fronds of a twenty five foot palm tree should the waters rise beyond the towering heights of your fiberglass carport roof. Which I did. Figure out where 16-18 feet was that is. I had it all figured out.

Next you check the weather station for the latest updates. Then, because you are afterall, at least if you are me, which your aren't, but nevermind...if you are as I say, a fabulous action figure, you pretend that you will escape to the nearest high rise hotel should the waters rise above your ten inch tall porch stoop. There you will introduce yourself to the lovely young maiden at the front desk and be escorted straightaway to a moderatly priced suite thirty feet above the tragic drowning action. Oh yes. Where you will be warm and dry and treated to a complimentary bottle of Chateau St. Michele and a half dozen freshly steamed stone crab claws and a half eaten Toblerone bar that was never rotated out of the minibar - oh goddamnit - where's the fuckin' phone - get me the food and beverage director son-of-a-bitch immediately!!!!. Oh sure.

And then you snap out of it and sit your ass down in your sweaty home hurricane shelter and prepare to die on your sofa like the ultimately helpless and stupid and unseaworthy creature that you are. At some point you come to the awful realization that the last face you might see before you are swept away and deposited in a mangrove tangle or discovered floating naked somewhere in the ocean west of the Marquesas Keys is the jabbering mug of one of those morons on the weather channel. Yee gads, what a way to go. So you turn off the TV. Which drives you nuts after about three minutes. So you turn it back on.

Now you have fully resolved yourself to your fate. Sort of. You put on a life jacket if you have one. Which naturally you don't. So you clutch on to your favorite philodendron plant and wait and hope for the best. What else can ya do?

And thats what I was reminded of when watching that water wash over those towns in South East Asia. Those imaginings which seem silly to me today because the worst case scenario outlined above - and the silly imaginings I have cartooned for you above - were never realized in any manner whatsoever in my case. But what happened in Indonesia is exactly what I imagined might happen to me all those years ago at three feet above sea level. But on a much smaller scale geographically and populationally. At least it went through my head. I'm not kidding either.

Which isn't the case in Indonesia. And they never saw it coming. And none of it is silly at all. And the gravity of what happened there gives me pause even now when it comes to mentioning my own seemingly silly recounting of my own imagingings of such things all those years ago at three feet above sea level. But I guess that's the kind of generous luck of the draw and hedge against despair that life affords us. What else can ya do?

What really bothers me while watching the coverage of what has happened in Indonesia - especially with respect to a good deal of the quivering lower lip commentary coming from some of the dippity-doo wowsers in the television media - is the realization that these very same media dolts never shed a single tear or a single lower lip quiver while they hooted and cheered and made squeally sounds as the United States of America rained explosives on thousands of innocent people in places like Iraq. "Liberating" little kids and mothers and fathers and on and on and on from their arms and legs and heads and dreams. Where were the sad theatrical refrains from the showroom dummies at CNN and MSNBC and you know who then?

Tsunami's and earthquakes are natural disasters. The earth is a scary living thing. When people get in the way - when nature gets really crazy and people are killed - it's very sad and that is the case. But it isn't a malignant intentional act. Unless God is a jabbering lunatic who hates his children.

But when we as a nation actively plan and execute and unleash a tsunami of airborn hellfire on a population of innocent people in a carefully targeted location - well - that malignant monstrous intentional action is given a parade and big thumbs up from the very same quivering lower lips that are currently grieveing at me, one photograph at a time, from the cozy confines of some TV studio sound set, as I write this. Its creepy. Downright creepy and scary. It makes me want to grab my philodendron plant and hold on and hope for the best. And I live well above sea level these days.

Bernard Weiner
The Hell That Is South Asia
The Asia quake/tsunami disaster hit too close to home: My wife had been in southern Thailand, at the beaches, only a week before the disaster struck; I had been in Southeast Asia a week before that. - [continue reading... The Hell That Is South Asia]

Damon Poeter:
Sports talk has its time, but this isn’t it - Wednesday, December 29, 2004

T Rex has a list of: NAMES


Stabbed in the Back in Afghanistan 

Being mildly occupied with trying to get a new website up for my business, which involves cooking several dozen complicated historic recipes, which besides being cooked have to be photographed, Photoshopped, and FrontPaged, with circles and arrows on the back of each one explaining what it is all about, with a deadline of Monday, has put me a bit behind in blog posting.

If that sentence sounds complicated, convoluted, whiny, irrelevant and kinda stupid, it ain't a patch on this apparently overlooked Op-Ed which ran last Sunday, and has been up on their website for most of the week, at the usually-better-than-this LATimes:

Twenty-five years ago, on Christmas Eve, Soviet troops marched into Afghanistan with the aim of restoring order in a few months. Nine years later they withdrew amid continued violence. In their wake, civil war erupted and the Taliban rose to power, providing a haven to Al Qaeda.

Critics of the U.S. military effort in Iraq often cite the Soviet experience in Afghanistan as evidence that using foreign troops to put down an insurgency is bound to fail. But that "lesson" is misleading because it depends on a depiction of the Soviet-Afghan war that is downright inaccurate.

When Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan, they initially failed to protect their logistical and communications lines. But Soviet commanders quickly corrected these mistakes and brought in better troops, including helicopter pilots trained for mountain warfare. From mid-1980 on, the Afghan guerrillas never seized any major Soviet facilities or prevented major troop deployments and movements.

When Soviet generals shifted, in mid-1983, to a counterinsurgency strategy of scorched-earth tactics and the use of heavily armed special operations forces, their progress against the guerrillas accelerated. Over the next few years, the Soviets increased their control of Afghanistan, inflicting many casualties — guerrilla and civilian. Had it not been for the immense support — weapons, training, materials — provided to the Afghan guerrillas by the United States, Saudi Arabia, China and Pakistan, Soviet troops would have achieved outright victory.

Even with all the outside military assistance, Afghan guerrillas were often helpless when facing the Soviet military machine. Raids conducted by Soviet airborne and helicopter forces were especially effective....In a long study of Soviet military progress as of mid-1987, a leading Westren military expert concluded that Soviet forces were proving "devastatingly effective against the Afghan resistance," were "presently winning in Afghanistan" and were "very close to crushing the resistance."

The announcement in 1988 by then-Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev that forces would be withdrawn from Afghanistan within a year was a political and diplomatic decision, not a military one.
Anybody find this as odd as I do? What this guy is saying is that if what really happened just hadn't really happened, They Coulda Been A Contenda! They Coulda Been Somebody! And who betrayed this noble military (keep in mind this is the goddam Soviet Army we're suddenly rehabilitating here) effort?

You got it. Stabbed in the back they were, by the craven politicians. And diplomats. Liberals, you know!

And of course he ties this all in with Iraq. If the feeble Soviets coulda defeated guerillas in Afghanistan, who were getting all this wink-eye Western support 'n' arms 'n' stuff, well then of course OUR military, which is so much manlier and righteous and higher-tech and all, must be right on the verge of winnin' against the bad guys in Iraqistan--and if they don't, it can only be because they are stabbed in the back.

I haven't seen this piece commented on elsewhere, I suspect because this argument is so stupefying that everybody is acting like they do when Uncle Ernie gets drunk after dinner and pukes on the cat. The automatic response is for everyone to pretend they didn't see, move with as much haste as dignity allows to the other room, and let Aunt Eunice deal with him.

The author of this piece is one Mark Kramer, credited as "director of the Harvard Cold War studies program and a senior fellow at the university's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian studies." I never heard of the guy and know nothing of his ideology. If his "credentials" were AEI or Cato we would know this was the start of a Mighty Wirlitzer chorus. If this is one of those, and it's starting from a guy at Harvard, that's scary.

This reminds me of nothing more than the start of the Lost Cause movement after the Civil War, which ties in with farmer's Klan story back here, but that's too long a story to tell at this time of night except to say that it's the same logic that motivates the Swift Boat Liars hatred for John Kerry (the real hatred I mean, not the bought-and-paid-for outrage part) so we best leave it for another time.

Goodnight, moon 

And happy New Year's Eve morning, everyone.

Guess I've got to start working on those revsolutions..,.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Conyers to challenge Ohio elections 

Go Keith Olbermann!

From a letter Congressman John Conyers wrote to Senator Barbara Boxer:

"As you know, on January 6, 2005, at 1:00 P.M...

Mark the date. Of course, Florida 2000 should have been challenged, but better late than never. The spectacle of Al Gore gavelling down the theft of his own election, while the (gutless, feckless) Beltway Dems didn't give protesting Florida representatives the right to be heard, is one of the most shameful moments in the history of the modern Democratic party (and a chilling moment in F911).

... the electoral votes for the election of the president are to be opened and counted in a joint session of Congress, commencing at 1:00 P.M. I and a number of House Members are planning to object to the counting of the Ohio votes, due to numerous unexplained irregularities in the Ohio presidential vote, many of which appear to violate both federal and state law. I am hoping that you will consider joining us in this important effort to debate and highlight the problems in Ohio which disenfranchised innumerable voters. I will shortly forward you a draft report itemizing and analyzing the many irregularities we have come across as part of our hearings and investigation into the Ohio presidential election.

"3 U.S.C. §15 provides when the results from each of the states are announced, that "the President of the Senate [Dick Cheney, hah] shall call for objections, if any." Any objection must be presented in writing and "signed by at least one Senator and one Member of the House of Representatives before the same shall be received. The objection must "state clearly and concisely, and without argument, the ground thereof. When an objection has been properly made in writing and endorsed by a member of each body the Senate withdraws from the House chamber, and each body meets separately to consider the objection. "No votes . . . from any other State shall be acted upon until the [pending] objection . . . [is] finally disposed of." 3 U.S.C. §17 limits debate on the objections in each body to two hours, during which time no member may speak more than once and not for more than five minutes. Both the Senate and the House must separately agree to the objection; otherwise, the challenged vote or votes are counted.

"Historically, there appears to be three general grounds for objecting to the counting of electoral votes. The language of 3 U.S.C. §15 suggests that objection may be made on the grounds that (1) a vote was not "regularly given" by the challenged elector(s); and/or (2) the elector(s) was not "lawfully certified" under state law; or (3) two slates of electors have been presented to Congress from the same State.

"Since the Electoral Count Act of 1887, no objection meeting the requirements of the Act have been made against an entire slate of state electors. In the 2000 election several Members of the House of Representatives attempted to challenge the electoral votes from the State of Florida. However, no Senator joined in the objection, and therefore, the objection was not "received." In addition, there was no determination whether the objection constituted an appropriate basis under the 1887 Act. However, if a State - in this case Ohio - has not followed its own procedures and met its obligation to conduct a free and fair election, a valid objection - if endorsed by at least one Senator and a Member of the House of Representatives- should be debated by each body separately until "disposed of".
(via MSNBC)



There's a lot of Inside Baseball stuff in this article about how the Republicans and the Democrats used their money in campaign 2004, but one sentence really leaped to my eye:

The Kerry campaign hired mainly consultants entrenched in the Democratic establishment, led by Robert Shrum, a speechwriter, media adviser and strategist on eight losing presidential campaigns dating to Edmund S. Muskie in 1972.
(via WaPo)

I think it's Vince Lombardi who said, "Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser." Eight times? That's a record that doesn't come by chance. These consultants are, indeed, playing the Washington Generals to the Republican Globetrotters.

Eight times. Let me spell it out:









Had enough? Let's start with Dean for the DNC chair.

Republican lawbreaking: Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle still hard at work 

Working his way up to the higherups, of course:

Prosecutors [i.e., Ronnie Earle's office] agreed to drop an illegal campaign contribution charge against Sears, Roebuck and Co. in exchange for its cooperation in an investigation of contributions to a political action committee associated with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Sears was accused of donating $25,000 to Texans for a Republican Majority during the 2002 legislative campaign. The use of corporate money for political purposes is illegal in Texas.

Under the agreement, Sears will cooperate with Texas officials in their prosecution and investigation of other people for any offense related to the corporate contribution that Sears made. O'Leary said Sears also will give $100,000 to the University of Texas for a campaign finance law awareness program.
(via AP)

Of course, when the Republicans don't like the way the law works out, they just change it:

In Texas, state Republican lawmakers are considering some maneuvers of their own in light of the investigation.

One proposal would take authority for prosecuting the campaign finance case away from Democratic district attorney Ronnie Earle in Austin, who has already indicted three DeLay associates, and give it to state Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican.

Another move would legalize corporate campaign contributions such as the ones that figure into the state case, potentially undermining the prosecution.
(via Houston Chronicle)

Beautiful, isn't it? Remember all that crap about "the rule of law" when the Republicans were staging their coup against Clinton? Turns out they meant "the rule of laws that we like." Oh well!

Here are some choice quotes from Ronnie Earle, though (who has, BTW, prosecuted more Democrats than Republicans during his tenure:

Ronnie Earle I. After House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, blasted Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle in February for investigating him in a vindictive manner, Earle replied, "Being called vindictive and partisan by Tom DeLay is like being called ugly by a frog."

Earle II. Earle, a 1960 graduate of Birdville High School, said in November of the DeLay probe, "This investigation is a little like clowns coming out of a Volkswagen in the circus. There's always another clown coming out."
(via Fort Worth Star Relegram)

Let's hope there are plenty more clowns to come...

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible..." 

Fine, I’m harping on this, but I’m old and easily moved by memories and overwhelmed by how close we were and how far we have to go. If you already plan to make MLK day a day that we vow to continue the struggle, fine, skip to another post. Otherwise, read and consider what you plan to do on January 17th. Like Labor Day, this is a day for the people.

Consummate organizer. On target. On message. Scaring the shit out of the Establishment so badly they had to kill him. And a Christian preacher. Almost 38 years ago he said the following. In a church. To other clergy. And all we need to do is substitute “iWaq” for “Vietnam” and it’s clear that these words and others like them from this man need to be shouted loud before the coronation of the sociopath. The struggle is far from over, and we owe it to someone to continue…

…If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war…

…It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." [applause] Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. [applause]

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it haseverything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. [sustained applause]

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

from “Beyond Vietnam,” speech on 4/4/67

Coupla weeks left till we celebrate his birth… right before a sociopath takes the oath of office and “swears” to uphold the Constitution and create an America in Rove’s image, not Dr. King’s. Let's make it a loud and proud holiday. Peace and justice, me hearties... arrghhhh!

MSNBC - We'll even exploit "miracles" to stay on the air! 

The wowsers at MSNBC are handing out miracles willy-nilly this morning. The miracle baby, the miracle child, the miracle puppy (oh, there must be a miracle puppy!) - this miracle and that miracle. So many miracles not enough dewy-eyed MSNBC TV-media drips to announce the miracles. Why it's all just one big festival of miracles at MSNBC this morn. Of course they don't like to characterize the 84,000 (one third of the victims children) dead people as anti-miracles, but, well, ya know, fuck off will ya...we're MSNBC and we have miracles to report. Of course a floating mattress has nothing to do with the less than miraculous buoyancy of an actual physical object like a mattress or anything like that - so again, fuck off, miracles - miracles - miracles!

Keep it dumb, keep it simple, keep it boing-eyed miraculous! Thats MSNBC. Its a miracle anyone watches it.

You can send your earthly dollars to help victims of nature's powerful comings and goings in Indonesia by visiting Loaded Mouth and taking The Tsunami Blogger Challenge.

Donate to the relief efforts.


Klan Rally: Aisle Five! 

Prices slashed on domestic terror. While supplies last!

Via Atrios this quote on "domestic terrorism":
"Gangs are a forum to promote terrorism," said Balboni spokeswoman Lisa Angerame. "Therefore, the anti-terrorism statue would be applicable against them, even if the original intent for this law was not exactly to prosecute them."

Speaking of "forums" for domestic terrorism and "gangs" and so on... over in wingnut retail world - hypocrisy sells:
Selling Extremism
Wal-Mart drops Protocols, but controversy lives on

(The book on which 'Birth of a Nation' is based is offered in four different versions on Wal-Mart's Web site.)

Wal-Mart is notoriously vigilant about protecting consumers from products it deems offensive. The world's largest retail chain refuses to sell any CD with a parental warning sticker. Wal-Mart even banned Sheryl Crow's music because the singer/songwriter criticized its gun sales.

The chain has also implemented policies against literature it deems offensive, stripping men's magazines like Maxim and Stuff from the store's racks along with gay publications like The Advocate and Out.

Wal-Mart's standards of offensiveness became an issue last fall when customers and civil-rights groups complained about its Web site selling The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

A notorious forgery that describes a vast Jewish conspiracy to rule the world, the Protocols are carried by other online booksellers such as Amazon.com, but with a disclaimer that describes it as a "pernicious fraud," and "one of the most infamous, and tragically influential, examples of racist propaganda ever written."

Wal-Mart's site featured quite a different description of the controversial product: "If ... The Protocols are genuine (which can never be proven conclusively), it might cause some of us to keep a wary eye on world affairs," said WalMart.com.

"It's outrageous that they would sell it in the first place," said Deborah Lipstadt, director of the Rabbi Donald A. Tam Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University. "It's unbelievable, but I'm glad they pulled it. It's the equivalent of selling 'Birth of a Nation' in the film section."

In fact, "Birth of a Nation," a 1915 filmic ode to white supremacy based on the 1905 novel The Clansman, is still available on WalMart.com for $17.28. The site also sells four different versions of The Clansman.

The book and movie were largely responsible for the 20th-century rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan, introducing the tactic of cross-burnings to the new generation of racists the story inspired. ~ Southern Poverty Law Center

Several printings available from WalMart Books: Thomas Dixon

Thomas Dixon is the author of the Klan trilogy which also includes The Leopard's Spots and The Traitor. The Clansman was, as the item above notes, the inspiration for David Wark (D.W.) Griffith's 1915 film Birth of a Nation.

Dixon wrote a whole lot of other crap too; including The Flaming Sword in which crazed commie negroes try to help destroy America and puppies and indoor plumbing and pretty much everything else they could get permission to destroy. Basically, God fearin' white Christian western civilization in general. You know how those sneaky negroes are. Unfortunately the sneaky homosexuals have picked up where the commie black people left off so western civilization will have to remain on its vigilant toes for a short while longer. At least until WalMart shoppers - or those beady-eyed cousin fuckers at MSNBC's Scarborough Country - can mount some kind of glorious counterterror counteroffensive. To the Daniel Decatur Emmett monument brave avengers! (Emmett wrote the song "I Wish I Was In Dixie's Land" - just in case you were wondering.)

Yes, where was I ....oh, Thomas Dixon's The Clansman... here's a sampling (intro snip) from the book. On the birth of the Invisible Empire:
In the darkest hour of the life of the South, when her wounded people lay helpless amid rags and ashes under the beak and talon of the Vulture, suddenly from the mists of the mountains appeared a white cloud the size of a man's hand. It grew until its mantle of mystery enfolded the stricken earth and sky. An "Invisible Empire" had risen from the field of Death and challenged the Visible to mortal combat.

How the young South, led by the reincarnated souls of the Clansmen of Old Scotland, went forth under this cover and against overwhelming odds, daring exile, imprisonment, and a felon's death, and saved the life of a people, forms one of the most dramatic chapters in the history of the Aryan race. - Thomas Dixon, December 14, 1904

Well I'm plucking a tear from my eye. Makes ya just want to run on down to WalMart right now and pick yer'self out a set of everyday low priced white King size polyester-blend bed sheets and mount a spirited chestnut steed and gallop off to rescue a golden haired lassie trapped in a burning manor. Now don't it?

I think I'll give up blogging to write KKK bodice rippers. I think it's an entire unexplored genre that could fill a niche these days. Any interested publishers please feel free to write me and offer me a generous amount of advance money. I will accept gold bullion as well.

Good day Sirs.

americanus moronicus idioticus


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

It's All In Your Head, Silly [update] 

Okay, here goes. Examples of disturbing symptoms exhibited in public. There have been posts on so many of these. And this is only Bush. I haven’t touched the others. The list is far from complete, so dig in…

  1. Egocentricity—aircraft carrier display ("Mission accomplished", back when there were only 138 dead)

  2. Callousness; Impulsivity; Conscience defect—blowing up frogs (here)

  3. Exaggerated sexuality—codpiece

  4. Excessive boasting—claims about Air Force service (here)

  5. Risk taking—playing with chain saws, crashing bicycles (here)

  6. Inability to resist temptation—drunkard (here)

  7. Antagonistic, deprecating attitude toward the opposite sex—awww, honey

  8. Lack of interest in bonding with a mate—check with unsatisfied LauWa

  9. Glib and superficial charm—the kind of guy Joe Six Pack would have a beer with

  10. Grandiose sense of self-worth—repeat ad nauseam “war president”

  11. Need for stimulation—cocaine (Snort!)

  12. Pathological lying—oh, hell, where to start?

  13. Conning and manipulativeness—follows Rove’s script (back)

  14. Lack of remorse or guilt—Inerrant Boy, as Lambert aptly coins it (here)

  15. Shallow affect; Callousness and lack of empathy—call it collateral damage

  16. Parasitic lifestyle—well, he is a Bush, the haves and have mores are his base (here)

  17. Poor behavioral controls—easily angered with criticism (back)

  18. Promiscuous sexual behavior—the aborted maid story? Ewww! Don’t wanna think about it

  19. Early behavior problems—frogs again (here)

  20. Lack of realistic, long-term goals—iWaq (here), economy

  21. Impulsivity—turkey trip?

  22. Irresponsibility; Failure to accept responsibility for own actions—Inerrant Boy again (here)

And remember, a positive hit on a cluster of 5-7 of these symptoms warrants a diagnosis (see, e.g., here for the DSM criteria for sociopaths).

Catherine O’Sullivan over at a Tucson fishwrapper has a good terse take on this, too: Tucson Weekly : Opinion : Guest Commentary She starts with

The real problem with the idea of the president being a psychopath is that it generates the vexing question: What kind of nation re-elects a psychopath to the highest office in the land? The answer could be one or all of three things: a dumb one, a mean one or a thoroughly conned one.

and ends with

Maybe my friend's right. Anyone who could manipulate a tragedy like Sept. 11 into a mess like this must be a serious lunatic…Could be, could be. I've read up on the subject further and--according to the literature--egocentricity, deceit, shallow affect, manipulativeness, selfishness and lack of empathy, guilt or remorse are quite common in the realms of corporate America, the military establishment ... hell, even academia. The ability and willingness to ruthlessly exploit the fears and weaknesses of others so you can get what you want is not ultimately nor exclusively the domain of people who wind up in metal cages. Not even close.

This last bit is telling, because if, as some claim, Bush is merely a product of his milieu, then consider his corporate upbringing and who he surrounds himself with. Szasz and the Libertarians would argue that one person’s psychopathology is another person’s lifestyle, and to some extent I agree, but Bush’s own behavior on this front shows that he prefers profit to liberty. See Law Project for Psychiatric Rights for more, but remember this from it:

The Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) was developed with 1.7 million $ of initial financing from pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, provided indirectly through a connected Foundation, and subsequent direct cash funneled through subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutica. It was developed and implemented in the Lone Star State's hospitals, prisons, the Juvenile Justice system and the Foster Care system during George W. Bush's watch as governor. Bush used the "extended mental health care" scheme as a point in his 2000 presidential campaign. Before leaving for the White House, he recommended a 67 million $ spending increase to pay for additional medications for the Texas Prison and Mental Health Systems… TMAP, the Texas project, was also exported to other states, including Pennsylvania, where an investigation into what is called PENNMAP there, uncovered improper pharmaceutical pressures and financial enticements in connection with the program.

And I dug up this telling quote from a paper. You’ve probably seen it before:

Mark Crispin Miller, author of The Bush Dyslexicon and professor of media studies at New York University, who also sees the darker Bush, said in a Nov. 28 interview with the Toronto Star, ""Bush is not an imbecile. He's not a puppet. I think that Bush is a sociopathic personality. I think he's incapable of empathy. He has an inordinate sense of his own entitlement, and he's a very skilled manipulator. And in all the snickering about his alleged idiocy, this is what a lot of people miss."

Miller said he did intend The Bush Dyslexicon to be a funny book, but that was before he read all the transcripts, which revealed, according to reporter Murray Whyte, "a disquieting truth about what lurks behind the cock-eyed leer of the leader of the free world. He's not a moron at all on that point, Miller and Prime Minister Jean Chretien agree."

"He has no trouble speaking off the cuff when he's speaking punitively, when he's talking about violence, when he's talking about revenge," Miller told Whyte. "When he struts and thumps his chest, his syntax and grammar are fine. It's only when he leaps into the wild blue yonder of compassion, or idealism, or altruism, that he makes these hilarious mistakes."

Yes, we all know people like this. But society usually puts some restraints on their behavior. That’s why we have corporate regulation, EEOC, etc. Now imagine a cabal in a position of what they think is ultimate power that actually likes this way of life—enjoys displaying these symptoms and intends to make them acceptable—and the only answers I can think of as to why he was reelected are: 1) fraud, 2) fear, 3) 51% of American society also shares these “symptoms” and sees no problem with sociopathy.

Peace, love and justice. Soon to be back by popular demand? See Xan's post below, and then go take a pill. It’s all in your head.

UPDATE I (Lambert) went through the list of Bush's troubling symptoms that RDF compiled, and added links to posts that give evidence for the symptoms.

Readers, some of the symptoms still don't have links; perhaps other links can be improved. Can you help?

Goodnight, moon 

In memoriam Susan Sontag. Go read.

Um, rationalizations and academic theorizing aside—is torture evil? Are torturers evil?

Someone does the math: Social Security outperformed the market 


[T]he administration's plan to partially privatize the system sounds appealing to many. But that better return won't always happen.

Just ask Stanley Logue of San Diego.

For 45 years, the defense-industry analyst paid into the system until his retirement in 1994. But with all the recent hoopla over reform, Mr. Logue, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, decided to go back and check his own records. Would he have done better investing his money than the bureaucrats at the Social Security Administration?

He recorded all the payroll taxes he paid into the system (including the matching amount from his employer), tracked down the return the Social Security Trust Fund earned for each of the 45 years, and then compared the result with what he would have gotten had he been able to invest the same amount of payroll tax money over the same period in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (including dividends).

To his surprise, the Social Security investment won out: $261,372 versus $255,499, a difference of $5,873.

It's an astonishing finding. T
(via Monitor)

Astonishing? Only if you're accustomed to believing what the SCLM and the wingers tell you.

Yeah, I'm a Big Baby 

This is the speech I heard the other day on a tape that at some time in the past I had just marked “MLK Speeches.” I found it’s the one he gave when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. I excerpt the part that made me get choked up and teary when I heard it. I dunno why. I guess I’m an old softie who remembers the power this voice had, still has, to confront evil:

…Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood.

If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. The tortuous road which has led from Montgomery, Alabama, to Oslo bears witness to this truth. This is a road over which millions of Negroes are traveling to find a new sense of dignity.

This same road has opened for all Americans a new era of progress and hope. It has led to a new Civil Rights bill, and it will, I am convinced, be widened and lengthened into a superhighway of justice as Negro and white men in increasing numbers create alliances to overcome their common problems.

I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him.

I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.

I believe that even amid today's motor bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men.

I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land.

"And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid."

I still believe that we shall overcome.

This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born. …

I ain’t religious folk, but for the faith he describes, AMEN.

I should point out that the man who spoke these words has a birthday remembrance right before the coronation. Make plans to assure that his birthday party is noisier than aWol’s have-mores bash.

Now I must for bed, perchance to dream…

Tsunami blog 

Here (via, however, old media AFP)


Stingy? Did someone say "stingy"?
The Bush administration more than doubled its financial commitment yesterday to provide relief to nations suffering from the Indian Ocean tsunami, amid complaints that the vacationing President Bush has been insensitive to a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions.

As the death toll surpassed 50,000 with no sign of abating, the U.S. Agency for International Development added $20 million to an earlier pledge of $15 million to provide relief, and the Pentagon dispatched an aircraft carrier and other military assets to the region. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, in morning television appearances, chafed at a top U.N. aid official's comment on Monday that wealthy countries were being stingy with aid. "The United States is not stingy," Powell said on CNN.

That brings to a whopping 10 cents per capita, our contribution to alleviating one of the great human tragedies of all time. How inspiring. I just wrote a check to Doctors Without Borders for 1000 times that amount, so I guess that makes me Albert Fucking Schweitzer. Yet I somehow still feel strangely unvirtuous.

I must lack the self-esteem of my Christian exemplars in the White House.

More from Xan here.

Doing Unto Others 

What's the antithesis of "genius"? Or "saint"? Or "remotely intelligent man"?

(via Juan Cole)
As John F. Harris and Robin Wright of the Washington Post cannily note, US President George W. Bush has missed an important opportunity to reach out to the Muslims of Indonesia. The Bush administration at first pledged a paltry $15 million, a mysteriously chintzy response to what was obviously an enormous calamity. Bush himself remained on vacation, and now has reluctantly agreed to a meeting of the National Security Council by video conference. If Bush were a statesman,
Yes, we will pause here to allow laughter and/or nausea to pass...if Professor Cole ever loses his job in academia he could follow in the comedic footsteps of Steven Wright.
he would have flown to Jakarta and announced his solidarity with the Muslims of Indonesia (which has suffered at least 40,000 dead and rising).

Indeed, the worst-hit area of Indonesia is Aceh, the center of a Muslim separatist movement, and a gesture to Aceh from the US at this moment might have meant a lot in US-Muslim public relations. Bin Laden and Zawahiri sniffed around Aceh in hopes of recruiting operatives there, being experts in fishing in troubled waters. Doesn't the US want to outflank al-Qaeda? As it is, the president of the United States is invisible and on vacation (unlike several European heads of state), and could think of nothing better to do than announce a paltry pledge. As Harris and Wright rightly say, the rest of the world treated the US much better than this after September 11.

The Indonesian government itself has an opportunity to gain some good will in troubled Aceh, and appears to have taken a good first step by allowing international aid agencies into the area.
If Karl Rove were even remotely smart at anything except dirty tricks, we would have had a scenario like this: The first C-130 full of supplies lands at wherever it's headed to, the rear cargo bay opens up, and there's Flightsuit Boy in full regalia, directing the offloading of the cargo.

No Air Force One, no panoply or pomp of state, just a minimum number of Secret Service and the like. The astounded media gathered to cover the flight are told that the US President did not want to take valuable time away from the relief effort but wanted to personally express sympathy for the victims of this disaster, etc.

Imagine the worldwide reaction.


Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Cough syrup for me, too. Eesh. Rather: [cough, hack], eesh [cough, cough, hack].

So, they're changing the batteries in the radio on His back? 

Oh heck, it's only 51,000 dead and still counting. But then, most of them aren't Christians, so they're going to Hell anyhow, right?

There was an international outpouring of support after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and even some administration officials familiar with relief efforts said they were surprised that Bush had not appeared personally to comment on the tsunami tragedy. "It's kind of freaky," a senior career official said.
(via WaPo)

Or maybe He fell off his bike?

Oh, but wait! The Pentagon is sending an aircraft carrier! WTF?

Bush: Blue states got no reason to live 

Money talks:

The Homeland Security Department has allowed federal grants for improving security at America's ports to be spent on low priority problems rather than the most serious vulnerabilities, the agency's outgoing watchdog says.

Well, let's be reasonable here. What could be a higher priority than leaving the Blues who didn't vote for Bush vulnerable to attack?

In a draft report to be released next month, Homeland Security Department Inspector General Clark Kent Ervin says port security spending should be governed by the most pressing priorities rather than local politics.

The grant program has been criticized in the past for being too cumbersome and for awarding money to projects of questionable use. To make his point, Ervin cited the report of the Sept. 11 Commission, which said homeland security spending should not be used as a "pork barrel" for politicians to send money to their home districts.

The report is one of the last submitted by Ervin, who earned a reputation as a blunt critic of the department before leaving the job earlier this month. Ervin won a recess appointment to the position in December 2003, but the Senate failed to confirm him and the White House appeared unlikely to nominate him again.
(via AP)

Another truthteller gone. Surprise!

Not that we haven't been saying this over and over again (reckless indifference to the nightmare scenario)

The mysterious snare of the Libril Debil! 

Nefarious temptations at work in the Mockingbird state:
Careful Not to Get Too Much Education...Or You Could Turn Liberal - by Dr. Teresa Whitehurst

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to a conversation I overheard at a Starbucks in Nashville last winter. It was a cold and rainy night as I worked away at my laptop, but the comforting aroma of cappuccino kept me going. My comfort was interrupted, however, by two young men who sat down in upholstered chairs near my table. One was talking, the other listening, in what appeared to be an informal college orientation.

"The only trouble with David Lipscomb (a conservative Christian college nearby) is that old man Lipscomb apparently didn't like football. So we don't have a football team, but we have a great faculty."

"But you do have to be careful about one thing," he said more quietly, coming closer and speaking in hushed tones, "My professor-I have this great professor-told me that you have to be careful not to get too much education, because you could lose your foundation, your core values."

The neophyte nodded solemnly, his eyebrows raised with worry.

"If you get a bachelors," the seasoned student reassured, "you'll probably be okay. But my professor said that when you get a master's, and definitely if you go beyond that, you can lose your values. He said that college students have to be watchful because if you get too much education, you could turn LIBERAL. He's seen it happen to a lot of good Christians." ~ more


Peddling Moonshine in Manhattan 

New York City is the place he ought to be so he loaded up the truck and became a FOXNewzi:
Sellout Zell, a Friend of Appalachia No More - By Chris Pepus

In January, Sen. Zell Miller ends a political career in which the one constant was his claim to be a champion of his native Appalachia. Miller was quick to criticize stereotypes of "hillbillies" and "white trash," and he would probably like to be remembered for pioneering the Hope Scholarship program while governor of Georgia. But his tenure in the US Senate overshadowed everything else he did and proved that he was only interested in helping the poor of Appalachia when it was politically advantageous.


... mostly, Miller used his Appalachian background as a prop to help sell George Bush Jr.'s aristocratic agenda to prime-time TV audiences. By the end of his career, Miller had become the southern accent of Wall Street and Harvard Business School.

more on this squirrelly idiot's past schenanigans via Progressive Populist


Shut up and eat your democracy 

Haifa Zangana: "Iraqi-born novelist and former prisoner of the Saddam regime" - Guardian UK - 12.22.04:
Iraqi women were long the most liberated in the Middle East. Occupation has confined them to their homes

The US state department has launched a $10m "Iraqi women's democracy initiative" to train Iraqi women in the skills and practices of democratic life ahead of the forthcoming elections. Paula Dobriansky, US undersecretary of state for global affairs, declared:"We will give Iraqi women the tools, information and experience they need to run for office and lobby for fair treatment." The fact that the money will go mainly to organisations embedded with the US administration, such as the Independent Women's Forum (IWF) founded by Dick Cheney's wife Lynn, was, of course, not mentioned.
Of all the blunders by the US administration in Iraq, the greatest is its failure to understand Iraqi people, women in particular. The main misconception is to perceive Iraqi women as silent, powerless victims in a male-controlled society in urgent need of "liberation". This image fits conveniently into the big picture of the Iraqi people being passive victims who would welcome the occupation of their country.


By the early 90s, Iraq had one of the highest literacy rates in the Arab world. There were more professional women in positions of power than in almost any other Middle Eastern nation

The tragedy was that women were living under Saddam's oppressive regime. True, women occupied high political positions, but they did nothing to protest at the injustice inflicted on their sisters who opposed the regime.

The same is happening now in "the new democratic Iraq". After "liberation", Bush and Blair trumpeted women's advancement as a centrepiece of their vision for Iraq. In the White House, hand-picked Iraqi women recited desperately needed homilies to justify the invasion of Iraq. In June, nominal sovereignty was handed over to a US-appointed Iraqi interim government, including six women cabinet ministers. They were not elected by Iraqi people.

Under Ayad Allawi's regime, "multinational forces" remain immune from legal redress, rarely accountable for crimes committed against Iraqis. The gap between women members of Allawi's regime and the majority of Iraqi women is widening by the day. While cabinet ministers and the US-UK embassies are cocooned inside the fortified green zone, Iraqis are denied the basic right of walking safely in their own streets. Right of road is for US tanks labelled: "If you pass the convoy you will be killed."

Lack of security and fear of kidnapping make Iraqi women prisoners in their own homes. They witness the looting of their country by Halliburton, Bechtel, US NGOs, missionaries, mercenaries and local subcontractors, while they are denied clean water and electricity. In the land of oil, they have to queue five hours a day to get kerosene or petrol. Acute malnutrition has doubled among children. Unemployment at 70% is exacerbating poverty, prostitution, backstreet abortion and honour killing. Corruption and nepotism are rampant in the interim government. Al-Naqib, minister of interior admitted that he had appointed 49 of his relatives to high-ranking jobs, but only because they were qualified.


The silence of the "feminists" of Allawi's regime is deafening. The suffering of their sisters in cities showered with napalm, phosphorus and cluster bombs by US jet fighters, the death of about 100,000 Iraqi civilians, half of them women and children, is met with rhetoric about training for democracy. ~ Quiet, or I'll call democracy


OHIO: Duck and Cover 

Maybe Blackwell will take to wandering around the neighborhood in his bathrobe babbling to himself and drolling down the front of a sleeveless t-shirt:
Ohio GOP Election Officials Ducking Subpoenas as Kerry Enters Stolen Vote Fray - by Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman

COLUMBUS -- Ohio Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell refused to appear at a deposition on Monday, December 27. The deposition was part of an election challenge lawsuit filed at the Ohio Supreme Court. Meanwhile John Kerry is reported to have filed a federal legal action aimed at preserving crucial recount evidence, which has been under GOP assault throughout the state.

Richard Conglianese, Ohio Assistant Attorney General, is seeking a court order to protect Blackwell from testifying under oath about how the election was run. Blackwell, who administered Ohio's November 2 balloting, served as co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign.

James R. Dicks, Miami County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, filed a motion to block a subpoena in his county while Conglianese filed to block subpoenas in ten key Ohio counties.

President George Bush, Vice-President Richard Cheney and White House Political Advisor Karl Rove received notice that they will be deposed Tuesday and Wednesday, December 28 and 29. The trio’s Ohio attorney, Kurt Tunnell, so far claims his clients have not been properly served. Under Ohio law, the Republican-dominated Ohio Supreme Court is responsible for serving the three with subpoenas.

Meanwhile, ... continue reading

And I suppose all three will be huddled together holding each others hands during the deposition. Oh, the persecution! Maybe they'll dress Commander Costume up as Jesus for the event.


Moronica Americana ~ books are stupid things 

Race to the bottom continues - 12.27.04:
Steinbeck's hometown to close libraries
Seattle Post-Intelligencer/AP

SALINAS, Calif. -- Mary Jean Gamble organized the John Steinbeck historical archives, supervised the Steinbeck literature collection and ranks as an authority on Salinas history and genealogy.

After nearly 23 years with the Salinas Public Library, she may know more about the "Grapes of Wrath" or "Cannery Row" than anyone else in the author's hometown.

So how would Steinbeck have reacted to the news that the cash-strapped city is closing its libraries in the spring?

"He'd obviously be upset. He knew that literature can lift and elevate the spirit and enable humans to rise above any situation," Gamble said. "He probably even read some of the great literature at the Salinas library."

Facing record deficits, the City Council voted Dec. 14 to shut all three of Salinas' libraries, including the branches named after Steinbeck and labor leader Cesar Chavez. The blue-collar town of 150,000 could become the most populous U.S. city without a public library. ~ MORE


Psycho Nation, cont. 

I am somewhat better today, thank you all. Took a big old slash of cough syrup and my antibiotics around dark yestiddy and slept until the roosters woke me up. And while I slept in opiate-induced cough-free bliss, like Coleridge using opiates purely medicinally, I dreamt. They were dreams like Kerouac’s intricate clockworks stretching into the sky…

Now, filled with coffee and antibiotics, a friend generously taking care of my animals, under enforced geriatric rest (as Elvin Bishop says, time to get off the alcohol and get on the Geritol, get off the cocaine and get on the Rogaine), I searched the shelves and found of course several things, building on what started yesterday as a post and ended up as a symposium where I learned a lot. MJS said in comments, quoting Jung: "When one adopts the standpoint of psychopathology, it is not easy to address an audience which may include people who know nothing of this specialized and difficult field. But there is one simple rule that you should bear in mind: the psychopathology of the masses is rooted in the psychopathology of the individual. Psychic phenomena of this class can be investigated in the individual. Only if one succeeds in establishing that certain phenomena or symptoms are common to a number of different individuals can one begin to examine the analogous mass phenomena."

MJS follows up on Jung by noting and asking, “There is, in the United States, a collective ‘delusion/madness’ going on, fomented by cynical leaders for financial gain and the cementing of their power. In the micro so goes the macro...?”

Or, as Gandhi was said to have remarked when asked what he thought of Western Civilization: “I think that’s a fine idea.” If these defects lie in all of us, which of course they do to some extent, then looking at a more comprehensive list of symptoms for sociopathy and psychopathy might lead the way. I culled this from the DSM building on (yeah, I know):

Egocentricity; Callousness; Impulsivity; Conscience defect; Exaggerated sexuality; Excessive boasting; Risk taking; Inability to resist temptation; Antagonistic, deprecating attitude toward the opposite sex; Lack of interest in bonding with a mate, Glib and superficial charm; Grandiose sense of self-worth; Need for stimulation; Pathological lying; Conning and manipulativeness; Lack of remorse or guilt; Shallow affect; Callousness and lack of empathy; Parasitic lifestyle; Poor behavioral controls; Promiscuous sexual behavior; Early behavior problems; Lack of realistic, long-term goals; Impulsivity; Irresponsibility; Failure to accept responsibility for own actions; Many short-term marital relationships; Juvenile delinquency; Revocation of conditional release; Criminal versatility.

Would anybody have trouble finding oodles of examples of symptoms in the modern Republican Party matching these?

But alas, we have met the enemy, and it is us. That is, the extent to which we are manipulated by sociopaths and psychopaths may lie in the extent to which we are ourselves afflicted and willing to change—a down and dirty method might lie in looking at the dichotomy of greed/fear and generosity/compassion. In a society driven by the former, we get statements like this:

Goering: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece?Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.Goering: Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

Herman Goering interviewed by Gustave Gilbert in Gustave Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary

In a society driven by the latter, we get “The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth.”

So, treatment options…? Begin by cleaning our own houses? Then by exposing the pathology of the powers that be? Surely only a psychopath would want to be governed by psychopaths? And remember, it’s all a matter of degree. And of a balance of power, just like a balance of power supposedly residing in the U.S. Constitution, that is “supposedly” only because as of now there is no balance. And that other great balancer, the free press. Oy! Rest in Peace.

So the struggle is to restore harmony and balance? Sounds awful touchy-feely, but sometimes the most revolutionary ideas are touchy-feely. I think of the coalitions and actions of yore: the Salt March, the Selma March… and didn't Arundhati Roy speak to America on this topic?

Leah and Tresy could address this more coherently than I. And I know the corrente readers can. Mebbe I better take another big old slash of cough syrup…

Monday, December 27, 2004

Goodnight,. moon 

I'm sure I join with all our readers in hoping for RDF's return to health. (OTOH... If he keeps posting like he has been, maybe ... Naah, that's not kind!)

Red Cross/Red Crescent donations for the Asian tsunami disaster.

A little cognitive dissidence from David Sirota.

Hey, and Europe. What's with the weird times? I mean, 17:00 is five o'clock. Who knew? What is this, metric?

Ohio GOP Operative seeks to avoid testifying on Ohio vote 

I wonder why?

[Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell], who declared President Bush the official winner in Ohio, is seeking a court order to keep himself from being interviewed as part of a court challenge of the Nov. 2 vote.

[Blackwell] claims his deposition is not required, and accused 37 voters challenging the election of "frivolous conduct."
(via AP)

Could it be he's been reading The Free Press?

It is my professional opinion that these numbers are fraudulent, and that this election has been hacked. There simply was not a 98.55% turnout in Concord South West precinct or anywhere else in Ohio. Nor was there a 94.27% turnout in Concord South precinct. I do not believe that Bush won 111 of 129 new voters in Tipp City Precinct F, or 173 of 189 new voters in Tipp City Precinct E, or 273 of 325 new voters in Troy Precinct 4-F, or that voter turnout increased by 194.58% in Troy Precinct 4-F, or that voter turnout increased by 152.78% in Troy Precinct 3-G, or that Bush increased his margin by 110 votes among 54 new voters in Monroe East Central Precinct, or that 72 Democrats who voted in the 2000 election chose not to vote in 2004 in Troy Precinct 2-D while all the Republicans did. To further illustrate my point I have included the other three precincts with 80% turnout, all of which show modest increases for both candidates, as would be expected.


Great stuff at this Free Press site. But none of this material seems to be making its way into that liberal media. Funny, that.

Iraq: Raw and uncut 


Thanks to alert reader thedarkbackward [and abysm of time?]

Letterman with the Marines in Iraq 

“If I wanted to face insurgents I would’ve spent Christmas with my relatives.”
(via Philly's own Daily News)

Rim shot!

Back from Europe... 

The big European project, over the next decade or so, will be integrating Turkey (population 70 million, predominantly Muslim) into the European Community.

The big US project, over the next decade or so, will be... Well, who knows? Putting the PNAC neo-con project to impose democracy on the Muslim world by force?

Compare and contrast...

Geology lesson 

From the LA Times (naturally):

The magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck off Indonesia on Sunday morning moved the entire island of Sumatra about 100 feet to the southwest, pushing up a gigantic mass of water that collapsed into a tsunami and devastated shorelines around the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

The quake was the largest since a magnitude 9.2 temblor struck Prince William Sound, Alaska, in 1964 and was one of the biggest ever recorded by scientists. It triggered the first tsunami in the Indian Ocean since 1883, civil engineer Costas Synolakis of USC said.

Sunday's temblor, which occurred off Sumatra's northwestern tip in an active geological region, ruptured an estimated 600-mile-long stretch of the Earth beneath the Indian Ocean. The quake caused one side of the fault to slide past the other, much like seismologists expect the San Andreas fault to do when the "Big One" hits California.
(via LA Times)

Moved an entire island 100 feet... Yikes...

A Character Flaw Isn’t a Philosophy, cont. 

Fella I was talking to told me that he’d been listening to a local radio guy’s call-in show (on a station you couldn’t pay me to listen to) talking about what everybody liked about Bush was that he was decisive. He could make a decision and stick to it. That if something bad happened while Kerry was in the White House, there’d just be a lot of hand-wringing and doomsaying, not enough decisive action.

Fella said he just had to call in. Said that aside from the fact that Bush frequently changes his mind to blow with the prevailing right-wing winds (he gave the examples of creating Homeland Security, the 9-11 Commission, etc.) that being bold and decisive was often confused with recklessness and hypocrisy.

He told the story of a colleague he once had (he’s a school administrator) who was a rising star in his district because he was “decisive and bold” and had “strong values and principles” and “you always knew where he stood.” However, the problem was that most of his decisions were bad ones, and he was usually bold where caution would have been better. It was also widely known that his values included ones that aren’t on the Moral Majority’s list, casino gambling high among them. Still, he remained popular somehow, and eventually, he rose to a position of prominence in the school district.

His crash was equally stupendous when he was busted for drunk and disorderly conduct in the parking lot of the casino, and it was found out later that the district’s funds had been mismanaged by him and his staff and that thousands of dollars were missing.

Fella went on to say that after this fall from grace, everybody expressed shock, shock I tell you, that this man was so reckless.

He said the guy ended up not doing any jail time, and is probably either retired or at another district.

Anyway, he said he wasn’t a psychologist, but that often these kinds of people are easy to spot and rise to power based on this sense of boldness and self-confidence they project that people like. Even when it’s clear this “self-confidence” and “boldness” are clearly having negative results and are probably more like “reckless confidence,” or even flat-out lying, people tend to still trust these folks. He didn't know why. It seems more than a simple con, but maybe it isn't.

Fella said Bush and the people he chooses to work with—he cited Kerik as a good example—all tend to have this trait.

But what is this trait called? Is it a personality flaw masquerading as a political philosophy? If so, what’s the flaw/philosophy called? And why does it sell to the public? “Evil” just covers too much ground. I just got through reading Jon Judis’ Folly of Empire, and he called the traits, as far as I can tell, nationalism and internationalism. But that seems too broad and philosophical, lacking the personality flaw. Readers?

Oh, and speaking of decisive action, these guys got my lunch money this week: Bengal Bay tsunamis: Red Cross Red Crescent launches appeal

In case you have any lunch money.

UPDATE Thought I'd link back to some golden oldies in NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) from Tresy here and here. It's troubling... —Lambert.

Skybox Swine 

The Abramoff gang and the GOP: ...just helps illustrate further what the party of 'W' is really made of. Namely elitist skybox swindlers and arrogant pious frauds.
Tribal Money Linked to GOP Fundraising - By Susan Schmidt and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, Washington Post Staff Writers

For most politicians, fundraising is a dreaded chore. But until recently, Rep. John T. Doolittle of California and other members of the House Republican leadership had adopted a painless solution: fundraising events in luxury sports boxes leased largely with the money of Indian gaming tribes, where supporters snacked on catered fare in plush surroundings as they watched the Wizards, Caps, Redskins or Orioles.

Doolittle, a Mormon, is an ardent opponent of casino gambling, so it is somewhat ironic that he would invite supporters to watch the Wizards play the Sacramento Kings from an MCI Center suite paid for by casino-rich Indian tribes. But the plaque at the door to Suite 204 did not say Chitimacha or Choctaw. It said "Jack Abramoff," a name synonymous with largesse and influence in the GOP-controlled Congress.

Until the power lobbyist's downfall this year, Abramoff spent about $1 million annually in funds largely provided by his tribal clients to lease four skyboxes -- two at FedEx Field and one each at MCI Center and Camden Yards. Season after season, he kept them brimming with lawmakers, staffers and their guests, part of a multimillion-dollar congressional care and feeding project that even the brashest K Street lobbyists could only watch with awe or envy.

Long article, I haven't even finished reading it yet myself, but -- continue reading here: WaPo via YahooNews

More Swine:
Big Pharma's Dirty Little Secret - by Peter Rost

The American healthcare system is the best in the world. Or so we are often told. But is it really true?

It is certainly the best system for drug companies, which can charge the highest prices in the world to some U.S. consumers. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that average prices for patented drugs in 25 other top industrialized nations were 35% to 55% lower than in the United States.

And it is a pretty good system for hospitals, insurance companies and others that deliver healthcare services. Americans spend about twice as much per person for healthcare as do Canadians, Japanese or Europeans, according to the World Health Organization.

But it's not a good system for American citizens. The U.S. has shorter life expectancies and higher infant and child mortality rates than Canada, Japan and all of Western Europe except Portugal, according to the WHO.

I'm a drug company executive who has spent 20 years marketing pharmaceuticals. And I'm troubled. I'm most troubled by the fact that we stick it to the people who can afford it the least. ~ Sunday, December 26, 2004 by the Los Angeles Times

Continue reading via Common Dreams


Sunday, December 26, 2004

Aside from Ohio, how was the election? 

Great stuff at The Free Press.

College Republicans loot the savings of the elderly 


The College Republican National Committee is under fire for using front organizations to collect millions of dollars in contributions, including money from elderly people with dementia.

During the 2004 campaign, the group sent out direct-mail solicitations under such letterheads as "Republican Headquarters 2004" and "Republican Election Committee."

One four-page letter asked prospects to send $1,000 together with an American flag pin for President Bush to wear to "Republican Headquarters" to ensure that Bush knows "there are millions who are giving him the shield of God to protect him in the difficult days ahead."


Dan Centinello, New York College Republicans chairman, complained that the national leaders have not taken prompt and decisive action to correct the situation. "I don't want to see hard work by all of us be tarnished by a fundraising scandal," he said.

The [Seattle, hah] Times reported that a number of elderly donors gave far more money than they could afford.

"I don't have any more money," Cecilia Barbier, 90, a retired church worker in New York who made more than 300 donations totaling nearly $100,000, told the paper. "That was all the savings. . . . Now I'm scrounging."

Monda Jo Millsap, 68, of Van Buren, Ark., told the Times that she emptied a savings account, then got a $5,000 bank loan to give a total of $59,000.

In the immediate aftermath, Hoplin e-mailed top state officials of the organization, telling them not to speak to the news media. "We need the story to go away," he wrote. "The story is full of lies and distortions written by a well-known liberal who is out to get us. If the press asks you about it, tell them you have no comment."
(via WaPo)

And we want to put the Republicans in charge of Social Security? When they loot the savings accounts of the elderly of their savings for a political campaign? Say, come to think of it, it's about the same thing, isn't it?

Good to see the DNC and the Beltway Dems and all those consultants really hammering this point home. After all, saving Social Security is important, right? Oh, wait...

Rising water 

The day after Christmas in Sri Lanka:

I couldn't understand what the fuss was about. All seemed peaceful. There was barely a ripple in the sea.

Then I noticed that the water around me was rising, climbing up the rock walls of the island with astonishing speed.

In less than a minute, the water level had risen at least 15 feet -- but the sea itself remained calm, barely a wave in sight.

The speed with which it all happened seemed like a scene from the Bible -- a natural phenomenon unlike anything I had experienced before.

As the waters rose at an incredible rate, I half expected to catch sight of Noah's Ark.

Instead of the Ark, I grabbed hold of a wooden catamaran that the local people used as a fishing boat. My brother jumped on the boat, next to me. We bobbed up and down on the catamaran, as the water rushed past us into the village beyond the road.

After a few minutes, the water stopped rising, and I felt it was safe to swim to the shore. What I didn't realize was that the floodwaters would recede as dramatically as they had risen.

All of a sudden, I found myself being swept out to sea with startling speed. Although I am a fairly strong swimmer, I was unable to withstand the current. The fishing boats around me had been torn from their moorings and were furiously bobbing up and down.

For the first time, I felt afraid, powerless to prevent myself from being swept out to sea.

We have no water, and no electricity and are practically cut off from the rest of Sri Lanka. It is impossible to buy food, we are existing on cold ham and turkey sandwiches, leftovers from last night's Christmas Dinner.

The holiday that we planned and dreamed about for many months is in ruins. We feel fortunate -- fortunate to be alive.
(via WaPo)

Of course, there are historical parallels...

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
~ current ~

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


copyright 2003-2010

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?